Today I am so excited to participate in the blog tour for the release of Hope Rising, the second book in Stacy Henrie’s series Of Love and War that centers around characters in the midst of World War I. I love historical fiction! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say it enough. This series puts real life faces with the soldiers, nurses, and families left at home during the Great War. It was a different time and the author does a wonderful job of immersing the reader into not only the War but the cultural and social differences of the time.
I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Hope Rising by Stacy Henrie
Series: Of Love and War #2
Published by Forever on 2014-12-16
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
FROM A GREAT WAR, SPRINGS A GREAT LOVE
In France at the height of World War I, American nurse Evelyn Gray is no stranger to suffering. She's helped save the life of many a soldier, but when she learns her betrothed has been killed, her own heart may be broken beyond repair. Summoning all her strength, Evelyn is determined to carry on-not just for herself and her country, but for her unborn child. Corporal Joel Campbell dreams of the day the war is over and he can return home and start a family. When a brutal battle injury puts that hope in jeopardy, Joel is lost to despair . . . until he meets Evelyn. Beautiful, compassionate, and in need of help, she makes an unconventional proposal that could save their lives-or ruin them irrevocably. Now, amidst the terror and turmoil of the Western Front, these two lost souls will have to put their faith in love to find the miracle they've been looking for.
Evelyn lowered her gaze to the root she’d tripped over rather than continue to stare at her gallant rescuer. “It’s mostly Louis and Pierre who’ve been interested in reading, but they’ve caught on well.” She slid a few more inches away from him, finagling her feet around the gnarled roots. Breathing was difficult with Joel so close.
He shifted to lean his shoulder against the tree trunk. “Is something wrong?”
She pressed her lips together and shook her head. “Are you angry at me? For coming over to the group, instead of staying away like we talked about?” Evelyn flicked a glance at those hazel eyes.
“No, not at all.”
Silence reigned for several heartbeats, then she felt his finger beneath her chin. He gently prodded her head upward until she had to look at him. Her stomach flip flopped as she peered fully into his handsome face. Light fuzz covered his chin and jaw. He needed another shave. A strange, irrational thought that she must be the one to do it filled her mind.
“Are you afraid of something, Evelyn?”
She kept the word sealed inside as her thoughts spiraled like a tornado. What if he didn’t reciprocate these growing feelings? What if he decided not to marry her
next week? There’d been times over the last few days when she thought Joel was beginning to soften toward her, even like her. She’d notice a lingering look from him or a smile, but they would disappear as quickly as they came and his manner would return to its usual, kind aloofness. Perhaps she ought to be asking him a similar question. What was he afraid of?
“I’m fine, really.” She swallowed hard. “Just a bit tired is all.”
Instead of releasing her chin as she expected, Joel lowered his gaze to her mouth. The rush of sound in Evelyn’s ears grew as thunderous as a windstorm.
Was he going to kiss her? Should she let him?
Yes, her heart cried.
She wanted him to kiss her, had dreamt of this moment She held her breath as Joel leaned forward. Closing her eyes, she waited for his lips to reach hers. Would his kiss be as glorious as she’d imagined? Or better? She felt his breath brush her chin, sending her stomach into another frenzy of flutters.
The sudden blare of horns dropped like a bomb into the quiet of the trees, obliterating their shared moment. Evelyn opened her eyes and turned toward the hospital. “More wounded soldiers.”
Joel straightened, robbing her of the warmth of his closeness. “Which means more surgeries.”
His disappointed tone had her hopes soaring heavenward again. Did it mean he cared? “Yes, it does. Will you watch after Louis for me?”
“I don’t profess to be as good a teacher as you, but I’ll try.”
She turned to go, but Joel caught her hand, stopping her retreat.
“Yes?” She wished she didn’t sound so breathless.
Wished she didn’t have to leave him.
He released her hand to brush her cheek with his thumb, heating her skin with the tender touch. “Good luck.”
I don’t even know where to begin!
Hope Rising by Stacy Henrie is book two of her Of Love and War series and tells the story of Evelyn, a war nurse, and Joel, Livy’s surviving brother and soldier. Joel is fighting at the front lines when he is injured and his best friend is killed. He is sent to the nunnery turned hospital where Evelyn works to be treated. Evelyn on her last leave fell in love with a soldier…(do you see where this is going?) Now she is pregnant and Joel brings news that her soldier, the man who told her he’d marry her is dead.
Evelyn is a finicky character to me. I had a hard time liking/relating to her. The book starts with her defending her morals. She won’t fraternize with the soldiers because it’s against the rules, then in a moment of weakness she decides a coffee won’t hurt, next thing you know it’s 12 weeks later and oops! She’s pregnant. Okay I can overlook that. Then she receives news that Ralph (that’s the soldier) is dead via his best friend, the irresistible and handsome Joel. She says she’ll never love again. But then she makes this proposal to Joel (I’ll go there in a minute) that completely contradicts that. I get it she’s a woman, it’s her job to change her mind, but really?! Honestly though I didn’t connect with Evelyn, by the end of the story I was able to see things from her point of view and sympathized with her. So it’s not all bad!
Joel reminds me of a guy-version of Livy from book one. Joel is the oldest child, has received news that his brother is dead, his sister is now married, and now his best friend dies in a battle that Joel feels guilty for. His struggles are relatable as he struggles with overwhelming guilt and grief, and also struggles with his faith in God. Joel doesn’t ever give up on Him completely. He learns after his injuries that the life he’s always wanted is no longer possible (not saying more because spoilers!!!) and he questions the path God has set him on. Then he meets Evelyn the girl Ralph was going on and on about, learns of her predicament and questions what he should do. He feels an overwhelming need to help her, but the question is how.
Back to Evelyn’s unusual proposal…Okay so I struggled with whether or not to include this in my review, but I decided it would be okay because it occurs fairly early in the book. However I’m putting in a spoiler box so if you wish to skip it you can. I don’t think it will spoil the book though if you read it. View Spoiler »So Evelyn knows that once the army finds out she is pregnant she will be discharged and sent back to live with her grandparents an unwed mother. Her other option is to hide the pregnancy as long as she can and pray she doesn’t get sent to the front lines. She creates another option when she learns that Joel’s dreams have been crushed by his injuries and asks him to wed her. « Hide Spoiler Joel wanting to help Evelyn as much as he can, decides to become her friend and get to know her. Their relationship blossoms into a beautiful friendship as they grieve together and learn to lean on one another.
I liked their relationship! I felt that it progressed naturally and the author does a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life. In addition to the characters is the landscape of scenery of war in Europe and the life these people live. It’s written in such a way that you feel the action and the dreary mud and rain, but also the bright spots of sun and happiness.
Overall I laughed, I cried, and my heart ached for these characters and the trials they were put through. Historical fiction has always been one of my vices and this author has done her research, keeping the time and culture present throughout the book. Not only that but it is a clean read with Christian influence throughout which just enhances it for me 😀 If you enjoy historical romance, clean romance, and inspirational fiction I highly suggest you check out not just this book but all of Henrie’s novels!
Tour-wide giveaway!!! Ten lucky people will win a paperback copy of Hope Rising. Open to only US and Canada. Ends 12/19 at MN.
Don’t Miss the Other Books in Of Love and War!
Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: Love & War, #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing on 2014-06-24
Genres: Christian, Fiction, General, Historical, Religious, Romance, Sagas, Western
Source: Netgalley, Publishers
IN A TIME OF WAR, LOVE IS THE INSPIRATION.With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents’ farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home-and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . . More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country’s struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy-and dark secrets from the past-threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what’s right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.
A Christmas Hope by Stacy Henrie
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: Love & War, Love and War
Published by Grand Central Publishing on December 2nd 2014
Genres: 20th Century, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Holidays, Romance
Source: Netgalley, Publishers
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Tis the season for second chances…
Having experienced the heartache of unrequited love, Maria Schmitt desperately seeks a new life. Landing a position as a clerk in a Sioux City bank is just what she needs to get started on her journey toward healing. But a dashing stranger soon puts her job-and her heart-in jeopardy. Saving lives was all Dale Emerson ever wanted to do . . . until a fateful day in France shattered his career as a surgeon. He lost everything that mattered, and the last thing he wants to do is resign himself to a life without medicine working at his uncle’s bank. Then he meets Maria, a compassionate woman who can see past his scars to the man he once was-and the man he could be again. With Christmas right around the corner, these two wounded hearts may find that hope and a little holiday cheer are just the ticket to letting go of regrets-and embracing a future full of love and possibility.